• Posted: February 2010
  • Comments: 1

It’s all about state

On Wednesday evening we did a board break at the NLP Academy Practice Group. The Wednesday evening practice group is usually focussed on skill development through practice.  However, this month, I thought it would be interesting to do something different.  As the name suggests at a Board Break people break a one inch wooden board bare-handed. I hear the sceptics amongst you asking ‘why on earth would anyone want to do that?’ The simple answer is because they can, and NLP is all about choice.

The greatest choice you can give yourself,  is the choice of your state.  When you have choice of state a whole new world opens up for you. Successful board breaking like many other things is dependent on your state.  Last night as people entered our Centre I observed myriad of different states that were defined by the individual’s physiology.  Some people were upbeat and enthusiastic others were tight shouldered and almost apologetic for their presence.  The weather was cold and damp and people had travelled a distance to join us. Strangely enough some people had let the external factors of weather and travel influence their state. I opened on the topic – that when you let external factors influence your state choice, you give away your sense of personal power. Conversely, when you respond with a strong state to difficult external factors you have more choice in life.  As I spoke the people were looking at the pile of boards in the front of the room. The states I saw in different people in the room included fearful, positive, nervous, and expectant and in some cases uncommitted. The boards in the piles were external factors but everyone in that room had made a choice to be there.

I asked the 40 people present “who was ready to break the board?”  A handful of people bravely put up their hands, many others sank back in their chairs. I asked how many people were sticking with their New Years commitments and how many had all ready written them off.  A lot of people had and admitted they were stuck in the same patterns as they operated from in 2009. Things began to shift when I asked, “what can you to make 2010 your best year yet? What would happen if you truly committed to your goals, so that on 31 December 2010 you look back on the year and think WOW?”. This change in thinking began to impact people’s state as they focussed their attention on achievement and success.  There was a shift in thinking in the overall group and a change of state. I asked the group again, “how many of you are ready to break this board?” More hands went up.

I asked the people to come forward and pick the board that was calling their name. As you might expect some people jumped forward and grabbed a board others were more casual. Their next job was to project themselves forward to the end of 2010 and think of everything they would like to achieve and then write or draw their outcomes on the board. Breathing changed, physiology shifted spines straightened, and shoulders more upright the state of motivation was surfacing as people were putting their attention on their achievements. I asked the group to turn the board over and write on the other side things they would have to work through or change such as unresourceful behaviours. To have a breakthrough in 2010 you have to breakthrough the things that have previously held you back or slowed you down.

Board breaking like many things in life is easy when you know how to do it. The key factors are physiology and state of excellence, put your attention beyond the board and model the rapid hand movement I do. It has nothing to do with strength and everything to do with attention, physiology and state. This is a mirror for achieving any goal in life. Where you put your attention and the state you are in determines the outcome. When I was explaining this to the group, the general state lifted and motivation was increasing.

To prepare, we did a series of mind – body exercises that demonstrated the power of being centred, the power of attention and the power of physiology and how these things collectively determine your state choice. The state was now present. We were nearly ready. The group modelled the board breaking technique – which is a rapid hand movement. In the right state the learning of the technique was easy. I asked how many people are ready to break the board and everyone put their hand up. We began the board break. Twenty minutes later, everyone had a broken a board and was thrilled with their achievement.

The evening was not about board breaking,  the evening was about learning how to recognise fear and other challenges and to create more choice in life by changing state. It all sounds very easy because it is when you put your attention on the right things and operate from a physiology of excellence.


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  • An awesome 11 days. The most profound change I have ever experienced in such a short space of time. A fantastic experience.

    Mike Jackson
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